Book Review: The Way Of Prayer

The Way Of Prayer Book Cover The Way Of Prayer
Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D
Ignatius Press
Electronic and paperback


This acclaimed commentary on Saint Teresa of Avila's classic work, Way of Perfection, discusses the various forms of Christian prayer, with an emphasis on Teresa's meditation on the Our Father. The author, a renowned expert on Carmelite spirituality, includes many quotations from Saint Teresa and Saint John of the Cross, which have been conformed to the most current authorized translations.

Teresa of Avila reformed the Carmelite order in the sixteenth century. Seeing Teresa in deep prayer, her first companions asked her to teach them how to pray. The apostles made the same request of Jesus: "Teach us to pray." Jesus answered by teaching the Our Father. Teresa responded to her sisters by writing Way of Perfection, which contains an extended commentary upon the Lord's Prayer. As Jesus did in his Sermon on the Mount, Teresa, in her Way of Perfection, first teaches the necessary dispositions for prayer before teaching the different kinds of prayer.

Named a Doctor of the Church by Pope Paul VI in 1970, Teresa united not only prayer and the apostolate, but contemplation and the apostolate, for contemplation is a particular kind of prayer that tends toward the most sublime intimacy with our Lord.



There are some Saint’s whose work began only to help those around them and yet became so much more than that. Saint Teresa of Avila is one such saint.

Known as the reformer of the Carmelite order, seeking to return her beloved order to a more austere life, Saint Teresa sought also to encourage her fellow sisters to a more contemplative life. With this in mind she wrote The Way Of Perfection and The Interior Castle.

For many of us, especially we mothers at home with much on our plates and little time to devote to spiritual reading, accessing the depths of such a spiritually dense book appears to be an unattainable goal.

But Ignatius Press’ recent publication of the second edition of The Way Of Prayer, written by Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D, proves to be an incredible alternative.

Accessing the spiritual wealth of Saint Teresa of Avila is no mean feat and yet Fr Gabriel manages to balance that alongside a rich historical context, and a deep understanding of what drove the Saint to accomplish writing The Way Of Perfection and The Interior Castle in the first place.

The Way Of Prayer is a profound exploration of the apostolate and insight of an inspiring Doctor of the Church.

The text, though richly patterned with spiritual and contextual information, is not heavy or tiresome. Instead it is an engaging read, it successfully blends history and theology with the character of Saint Teresa of Avila.

Fr Gabriel’s style of prose is, though thoughtful and accurate, easy to follow and understand. His explanations are well constructed and supported by quotes from Saint Teresa of Avila, which mean that for the average reader with little or no theological background they are able to access both the original text and the accessible explanation.

As a book for personal spiritual reading and reflection I highly recommend this but I would also equally recommend it for group study or book club. There is something for everyone here, regardless of your theological background.

You can grab your copy here.




Filed Under: Book ReviewsFaithFeaturedReviewsSpirituality

About the Author: Emily is a former ACPA award winning editor and journalist turned stay at home mum and blogger. She lives on a farm in regional NSW with her husband and their five children where she spends the time she should be doing housework reading books and writing posts.

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